I was sitting at dinner with friends the other night and we were talking about 2015 and how it just feels different. I, of course, had some passionate choice words about just moving forward and ended with, “it’s just time to go… balls out.” Unfazed by my inability NOT to use genitalia in everyday conversation our friend Ryan said something like, “I don’t think the it’s the passion of the YES that matters… it’s just the YES.” He was so right. Some of us are barely able to eek out the word, and the beauty of that… is it’s still a YES to God. It’s a YES in the progress, a YES said in faith that God will deliver and that He’s waiting for you to walk right up and take it!
“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” -HEBREWS 4:14-16 (MSG)
This year as we think about what we’d like to do differently, what we’d like to go after, and all of the ways we want to go deeper with our Creator… there are so many things that will silence our mouths and our lives… here are three.
1) Hiding behind the “right” words. I’m great at hiding. I’ve learned the language and have mastered how to use the “right” christian words to make it look like I’m going all out for God when really I’m hiding from the thing He’s actually asked me to do. I’ve used cliche Christian phrases to build a wall of safety around my world. I’ve gotten so good I’ve even fooled myself at times. But the bottom line is no matter how sexy or courageous or “right” our lives seem on the outside…nothing we can think up… nothing we can manufacture to look like God will ever EVER produce the same life and love and grace that a simple yes to Him will. What words have you been hiding behind?
2) Getting courage Facebook (or Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter.) Our news feeds are overflowing with quotes and really cute graphics that tell us to be brave. Nothing wrong with that. But you can fill your feed with the deepest words of insight and encouragement in the world and still never get your butt of the couch to run after what God is calling you to. We can read all of the right books, listen to all of the right sermons and have an entire city of close friends and family cheering us on and never actually say YES to God. Why? Because the kind of courage that gets our butts of the couch (or out of hiding) and move into the unknown only comes from diving deep into Jesus. The courage we need to step out and face the criticism of others, to push through when it feels too overwhelming, and to do really hard stuff can’t come from others. The real, raw courage that leads us to unearth dreams we didn’t even know existed comes from the simplicity of JESUS. Not the checklist “Jesus”, not the bumper sticker “Jesus” not the Jesus we drag along and pull out of our pockets when it’s convenient. The messy, powerful, fiercely untamed SAVIOR OF THE WORLD that leaves us forever changed with even a glimpse at who He really is. HE is the Source of whatever it is we need to move past all of the barriers and excuses and garbage from our past we think we’ll actually never break through… When was the last time you encountered God in a real way?
3) Believing the cost isn’t worth the reward. In Numbers 13 and 14 the Israelites chose to cling to the safety of slavery (because that’s what they knew) over saying Yes to the promise God was about to deliver on the other side of the river and it cost them everything. While they never went back to their chains in Egypt, they never got to experience the freedom and abundance the promise land had to offer either. They didn’t believe the reward was worth the cost and they gave up. They were so close but they let their fear of the giants in the land overshadow the power of the God they served. What safety have you been clinging to?
It’s time… it just is. There is something different about this year. God wants to do something new, I can feel it. Are you ready to come out of hiding? Are you ready to dive into Him like never before? Do you believe what He says He has for you is better than the safety of the life you’ve chosen? A quiet thought or a passionate war cry… a yes is a yes and He’s ready for you!
This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.
-Isaiah 43:16-21 (MSG)